Live and Local: Third Root’s ‘Mind Elevation’ mixtape release party
Sunday, January 20; War Room
The streets surrounding North St. Mary’s were lined by the vehicles of barflies and scene addicts. The crowds amassed between the newly dubbed War Room (formerly known as Limelight), and the male strip corner Hardbodies. In an ironic contrast, War Room played host to a rally cry of peace and unity brought by one of the city’s most politically minded outfits, Third Root.
Third Root is the collaboration of Easy Lee (MoJoe), Marco Cervantes (Mexican StepGrandfather) and DJ Chicken George. The group’s political message of resolution and healing between cultures is one that is not lost in their performance, “We want the audience to walk away feeling empowered,” DJ Chicken George told the Current.
As a precursor to the annual Martin Luther King Jr. march, the concert was held to celebrate the release of Third Root’s latest mix tape Mind Elevation. “We specifically chose the day before Martin Luther King day as the official release date,” Cervantes explained to the Current. “We felt the messages on the mixtape aligned with King’s philosophies.”
In an eclectic mix of genres, the night opened with the soulful night’s MC, Vocab, followed by local hip hop rising star Greg G. Along with a shortened set by DJ JJ Lopez, Pop Pistol rounded out the opening billing, carrying their dreamscape cadence and balanced noise in tote.
Third Root then took to the stage with immediacy, trading crowd banter for showmanship. The new mixtape, according to Easy Lee, “has a more laid back, jazztronica vibe, so it sets a natural and relaxed mood on stage.” Third Root’s on-stage presence was defined by soulful tradition, hip-hop candor and natural progression. One minute the hook would loop, the next, Cervantes would be tearing into lyrics with fury.
As the night shuttered to an end, with last call cast down the strip, the voice of the people was primed and readied for the following day’s march. — M. R. Brown